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February 14, 2022
Event Tips

Beyond the Webinar: 6 Virtual Event Formats to Engage Your Guests

Beyond the Webinar: 6 Virtual Event Formats to Engage Your Guests

Our lives are pretty predictable. We wake up around the same time each morning, have a good idea of what our work days will entail, even prepare the same few go-to meals for dinner. Predictability can serve us well - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - but do you ever feel the urge to switch it up?

Since 2020, our virtual events have gotten predictable, too. We’ve all attended Zoom meetings, tuned into live streams and participated in virtual Q&As. As event organizers, these virtual event formats are comfortable, but they’ve been done before. Do your attendees really want to view another webinar? Trying out a new, exciting virtual event format can revitalize your event strategy (and your attendees’ interest!).
Here we give you 6 unique and engaging virtual event format ideas that will help you revitalize your virtual events!

1. Demonstrations

Demonstration-style virtual events are quick, fun and engaging. Whether it’s a product, a service or an industry-relevant skill, demos get your guests involved and promote interaction with your brand. Plus, virtual demos are low-risk and high-reward. No need to travel to multiple different events with expensive equipment – bring the audience to you!

You can go with the basic demo-plus-Q&A, live streaming or hosting a video conference where attendees are encouraged to ask questions. For other fun variations on the demo format, try a “lunch and learn,” a short-form virtual event where attendees take their lunch break to learn more about your product or service. Demo-and-activity is a more hands-on experience for your guests; after your demonstration, put attendees into breakout groups to work on an activity or roundtable relevant to your industry. 

Virtual demos can easily become a key part of your event strategy due to their simple yet engaging nature. Make it a recurring event: draw new audiences weekly or monthly by creating an online space to show off. 

2. Happy Hours

Happy hours aren’t just for half-price wings and well drinks, they’re the perfect avenue for conversing and connecting with your attendees. Virtual happy hours create a casual environment for more intimate chats and questions, making them particularly well-suited for networking-focused events and nurturing prospects. 

Putting the work into creating a real happy hour atmosphere will make your virtual event stand out from the usual webinar format. Emphasize the personal! Plus, if you coordinate food or drink delivery to remote attendees ahead of the event, you’ll incentivize interaction and give the call a true happy hour vibe.

3. Roundtable Discussions

Another relatively easily-implemented virtual event format is roundtable discussions. For those of your attendees who love to participate and are always in the Q&A box, virtual discussions are an interactive place to take part in an event community Why It’s Crucial to Turn Event Attendees into Community Members. 

Discussions can focus on anything from your company’s product or service (akin to a focus group) to industry-wide issues. Not only will participants take part in thought-provoking discussions, but they have the opportunity to network with other guests, interact with your brand and bolster your event community. No in-depth event breakdowns required: roundtables are another virtual event format with simple start-up and high engagement. 

4. Virtual Fairs

Career fairs, benefits fairs, employee onboarding fairs, trade shows, expos - the “fair”-style event can be adapted to fit any need. Fairs are bustling, exciting events that create value for attendees and exhibitors. The same value can be created with virtual fairs, whether you have to adjust your event format for health and safety concerns or because you want to create a truly global event.

Use an event management platform that makes creating a virtual exhibit hall simple. Virtual fairs are visually interesting and fully interactive, so guests will have the same opportunity to connect in real-time with exhibitors via live stream or chat. And as for your exhibitors, ROI is proven with hard data when you use an event management platform like PheedLoop that tracks important metrics like content interaction and lead generation.

5. Tours

Virtual tours are an underutilized virtual event format that can wow your attendees. Think outside the box: could you take guests on a virtual tour of a state-of-the-art facility related to your industry? a tour of the lab where your latest and greatest tech is being developed? If you’re kicking off a multi-day online conference, have guests accompany you on a tour of the highlights of your company’s home city. Whether pre-recorded as an intro to a larger event or a full educational event itself, virtual tours can transport guests from their desk chairs to truly unique locations.

6. AMAs

Q&As are a cornerstone of any event, in-person or virtual. Instead of building audience Q&A time into your webinar or panel, why not take a page from Reddit and host a standalone AMA (Ask Me Anything)?

AMAs have the potential to be both personal and informational. For example, at your next conference, try hosting an AMA with a thought leader in your field. This will give them the chance to interact with guests on a more casual basis - questions like “who’s your favorite basketball player?” or “who would you cast to play you in a movie?” are fair game in an AMA! - while still answering event/industry/product-related questions. AMAs show a fun, approachable side of people that will get guests talking. 

Like demos, AMAs can become a recurring part of your event slate. They’re easy to host via live stream or video conferencing, and generate lots of beneficial buzz on social media.


Virtual events don’t have to be like your morning routine: completely predictable. To continue to surprise, delight and inform your online audience, break free from the webinar format and consider a unique virtual event that emphasizes connection and fun. It may not be broke or need fixing, but you can still give your virtual event strategy a refresh and your attendees a new event to enjoy by trying out a unique virtual format.

Let PheedLoop power your next virtual event. Find out more here

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PheedLoop is an all-in-one event management platform for live, virtual and hybrid events. Our platform powers events for associations, corporations, agencies, educational institutions and governments worldwide including Shopify, Government of Canada, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, IBM and more. We commit ourselves to being a highly product focused company, and are dedicated to releasing new features and product updates every week since our founding in 2015. We post regular updates like this one to our blog.

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